I, who cannot do a thing about it, 

Kneel before you, who can, 

And wonder what is wrong with me. 

How is it possible for me to yawn?

Not just the yawn of the mouth, but of the mind?

Seeing no other way forward, I offer you

A wry shrug and all my boredom

Saying, “Oh well, what can you do?”

And the question ceases to be rhetorical. 

jesus20blessing20childrenThis weekend we went to Mass on Saturday evening because Kathleen was on call on sunday. That’s right, she was on call all mother’s day. However, it turned out to be a pretty light call day. She only got called in twice, once at 9:30 AM and once at 1:30 AM.

When I got Evie up for breakfast at ate I had the strangest desire to go to Mass. Not that it is strange to desire to go to Mass. I like to go every day when I can. But it was a Sunday Morning Mass, and we had already fulfilled our obligation. More than that, it was the nature of the desire that was strange. It was a feeling that I should get Evie fed and changed and out the door to Mass right away, coupled with the certainty that we had just enough time to make 9:00 AM Mass at All Saints (not our usual parish) if I didn’t dally.

So I did. I didn’t understand why, but I was fairly sure that God was directing me to it, so what the heck, you know? Like I really have anything better to do than take Evie to visit Jesus?

Two occurrences made the whole thing a little more clear after we left.

First, I am currently doing the Divine Mercy Novena and yesterday was day 6. I hadn’t read the intention for the day yet, but I grabbed the book on the way out the door and read it right before we went into Church:

Today bring to Me the Meek and Humble Souls and the Souls of  Little Children, and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels, who will keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. I favor humble souls with My confidence.    

Most Merciful Jesus, You yourself have said, “Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart.” Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all heaven into ecstasy and they are the heavenly Father’s favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God Himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have a permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart, O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek souls, upon humble souls, and upon little children who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of mercy and of all goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them: Bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.

Suddenly it became clear, but it was about to get clearer still.

All Saints, as I said, is not our usual Parish. They are closer to us than Cabrini, but their liturgical practice is a little looser than I like. Particularly I don’t like that they don’t kneel for the Consecration. How is Evie supposed to see Jesus if everyone is standing up blocking her view?

That being said their hearts are in the right place. They are one of the friendliest parishes around. Around the walls of the church, where the vault of the ceiling begins, they have posters of various saints, which they rotate through. Some are there all the time, like St. Joan of Arc and St. Mother Teresa. Others, like the evangelists and apostles, come and go according to liturgical season. However, yesterday they had a picture that I had never seen before, featuring these two:saints-martins

That’s right, Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese de Lisieux, Evie’s patron Saint.

The message couldn’t be clearer. It was not a new thing that God was trying to teach, but an old thing that He was trying to remind us of, namely that our only business as parents is to bring our children to Him. The calling of each and every family is to be the birthplace of Saints. Any other success or failure means little or nothing compared with this question, which Jesus will ask us when we see Him in judgment: “Did you let the Little Children come to Me?”

My latest post is up at Ignitum Today. Check it out at:

Tactical Pause

 

I don’t know what to make of these
Conjugal visits of ours,
Whether they make things better
Or worse between us.
I have suffered more than you know
To make them possible
And it would break my heart
To see them end,
But do they really do any good?
Can we really sustain this relationship
On one hour a week?
(One hour? Rather less. I am lucky to get
45 minutes) Especially when
You never write, or call,
Or even answer my call,
Anymore.

I sometimes wonder why,
Why you even bother
Since when I speak you are not here,
Not listening, your mind awash
With details of your routine
The business of living
Day to day, or football,
Or movies, or dust on the floor.
Your mind is full of everything
Except us. You don’t even talk to me,
You mutter incessantly
To yourself.

And when the visit winds down
And only minutes remain
Ticking off on the clock on the concrete wall,
You insist (God knows why) on taking my body
Though you have not received my heart
Have not listened to my mind.
Still you take me in your hand,
Your mouth, your body,
Mechanically like a hooker,
Never looking me in the eye,
Glancing at the clock on the concrete wall,
Anxious to be gone, anywhere.

Why? I offer myself to you because
You are my bride, and you insist,
And this is a conjugal visit after all.
But why do you insist on it?
What do you get out of it,
When you don’t see me,
Or even look for me.
Religiously you take your pill
Every day like a novena,
And still I hear you mutter
“God I wish he would use a spiritual condom,
The pill is far from perfect,
And I’d certainly hate to bear much fruit.”

And afterwards you have no more
Use for me.
You collect your things
Without a backward glance
And rush for the door,
Eagerly returning to your cell.

I hang crucified once more
Above the altar, watching you leave,
Entombed in the solitary
Tabernacle.

Oh God in Heaven, How I love her!
Why does she not care?

“The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.” Isaiah 11:8

Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.” Luke 10:21

Family Friday 27 1These readings (from Tuesday of the First Week of Advent) were the topic of our Bible Study on Monday night. I had brought Evie with me to MC, and she was having a great time, despite the lateness of the hour and not feeling too well. She is such a social butterfly. I don’t know where she gets that from.

But when we started talking about that verse from Luke, Evie began babbling up a storm. Suddenly she had an awful lot to contribute to the discussion. We joked that she was “rejoicing in the Spirit,” and wondered what kind of things she could see in the spiritual realm that we cannot see.

I wonder that continually, as a matter of fact. I remember the first time I took Evie to Holy Hour when she was a couple of months old. Holy Cross Parish in North Tacoma has Perpetual Adoration and we had to drop Kathleen off somewhere up there for some kind of meeting. Evie was asleep when I brought her into the chapel in her carseat, but she soon woke up. So I took her out of the carseat and set her on my lap, and the very first thing she did was look directly at the exposed Host in the monstrance and laugh and open her mouth in the biggest, widest, gummiest grin ever. It was the same smile that she uses when she recognizes people she knows, or flirts with the old folks at church.

Of course the scientist in me posits all the possible explanations it can think of, spiritual and non-spiritual, e.g. she enjoyed the shinyness of the monstrance, she was happy to be out of the carseat and just happened to look in that direction, she was glad to be picked up by Daddy, she is seeing some faint manifestation of the spiritual reality of the Real Presence.

I don’t know what the fact of the matter is. I do take Jesus’ words quite literally, that God reveals things to little ones that He does not reveal to the wise and learned. Perhaps our urge to clarify and quantify precisely what was revealed is part of the reason for that. It is a response that would occur only to a “wise” and “learned” person, but a child would simply accept and enjoy.

Also, a wise and learned person is always in danger of thinking that he has discovered the insights rather than received them undeservingly. This is a spiritually deadly error, and in such a case God may very well withhold insights simply to protect the person from that error of pride. Jesus certainly seems to take some caution against this error in His disciples, for in the very next paragraph He turns to His apostles and says, “I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

It is as if to say, “You all have received some astounding revelations. Don’t take them for granted, and remember that the reason you received them is not your greatness or learning, but the fact that you really are the little ones that I was speaking about previously.”

A child does not earn his insights. A child does not earn his keep. A child does not earn anything. Everything he is and has up to and including his very life is given him by pure gift from his parents (and ultimately from God). Because they have no illusions of self-sufficiency they are able to trust completely in their parents and in God. This is why the prayers of little children are very, very powerful. They ask in trust.

Whatever the case may be, as to how much Evie sees or doesn’t see, she shows me every day how my relationship with God ought to be. IMG_3930

In a recent post I talked about how much Evie hates her carseat, because she hates to be all by herself in the back seat. Well, today a minor crisis came up and we had to improvise a childcare solution. Evie gets to spend the day with Grandma and Grandpa but I had to drive her up to Bonney Lake to drop her off.

As I was walking out of the kitchen in a bit of a rush I happened to see a baby shower gift that we had been given by someone. It was a small mirror that clips onto the handle of a car seat, or suction cups to the back window behind a carseat, so that you can see your rear-facing baby in the rear view mirror.

This picture was taken while the truck was stationary and idling. This picture was taken while the truck was stationary and idling.

Guess who was happy and content the whole way to Bonney Lake!

Such a simple thing, and yet it mirrors God’s care of us (get it? Mirrors? Hee hee hee!) We were made for God and our hearts are endlessly longing for Him the way Evie longs to be held by Mommy and Daddy. But we are on a trip, and we are not big enough to ride up front with Him yet. He knows that we would be heartbroken if He left us all by ourselves in the backseat, so sometimes He comes back and joins us, and sometimes He leaves us a mirror that can reflect a little bit of Him back to us. Not the whole Him, obviously, but just enough so that we can glance up from time to time and be reminded that He is there.

Because He loves us!